Trypsin-like immunoreactivity

Alternative names
Serum trypsin; Trypsinogen; Serum trypsinogen

This is a test that measures the amount of trypsinogen in the blood.

How the test is performed

Blood is drawn from a vein on the inside of the elbow or the back of the hand. The puncture site is cleaned with antiseptic, and an elastic band is placed around the upper arm to apply pressure and restrict blood flow through the vein. This causes veins below the band to fill with blood.

A needle is inserted into the vein, and the blood is collected in an air-tight vial or a syringe. During the procedure, the band is removed to restore circulation. Once the blood has been collected, the needle is removed, and the puncture site is covered to stop any bleeding.

For an infant or young child, the area is cleansed with antiseptic and punctured with a sharp needle or a lancet. The blood may be collected in a pipette (small glass tube), on a slide, onto a test strip, or into a small container. Cotton or a bandage may be applied to the puncture site if there is any continued bleeding.

The blood is then analyzed in a laboratory.

How to prepare for the test
There are no special preparations.

For infants and children:
The preparation you can provide for this test depends on your child’s age and previous experience. For specific information regarding how you can prepare your child, see the following topics:

How the test will feel
When the needle is inserted to draw blood, some people feel moderate pain, while others feel only a prick or stinging sensation. Afterward, there may be some throbbing.

Why the test is performed

Trypsinogen is a precursor of trypsin, an enzyme produced in the pancreas. Trypsin breaks down protein in the duodenum.

This test is performed to detect diseases of the pancreas.

Trypsin and trypsinogen levels are increased with some types of pancreatic disease such as acute pancreatitis and cystic fibrosis. Low or normal levels may be seen in chronic pancreatitis.

Normal Values
During and after digestion, trypsin is found in the bloodstream.

What abnormal results mean

  • abnormal pancreatic production  
  • pancreatic cancer  
  • pancreatitis, acute  
  • chronic pancreatitis

What the risks are

The risks associated with having blood drawn are:

  • excessive bleeding  
  • fainting or feeling lightheaded  
  • hematoma (blood accumulating under the skin)  
  • infection (a slight risk any time the skin is broken)  
  • multiple punctures to locate veins

Special considerations
Other tests to detect pancreas disease(s) may include:

  • Schilling test  
  • serum amylase  
  • serum lipase


Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised: December 8, 2012
by Armen E. Martirosyan, M.D.

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